European Court of Justice
The European Court of Justice struck down in a landmark ruling today a decision by EU finance ministers that had frozen deficit sanctions against France and Germany.
The decision came after 18 months of bitter debate over whether to make the pact flexible in light of persistent economic weakness that have stretched the budgets of key EU members.
The union's council of ministers, ignoring a EU commission recommendation to pursue France and Germany for soaring public deficits, had created a difficult situation for all of the Member States, leaving a clear gap under the economic door of control which was skillfully used last week by Italy to avoid censure for its own breaking of the budget controls imposed by membership of the EuroZone.
Romano Prodi said today, “The commission welcomes the ruling… since it confirms the central role of the Stability and Growth Pact regulations in the European budgetary surveillance process”. But in a clear warning to France and Germany he noted that the Brussels recommendations previously overturned by governments – including fines – were back on the table.
On a completely different note, il Presidente del Consiglio, Silvio Berlusconi, announced a few days ago that the ratified EU Constitution would be signed on November 20 2004 in Rome. The signing ceremony will take place in the Campidoglio Palace where Europe's 'founding' Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957. If the constitution is ratified by all the 25 member states, it will be set to come into force in 2006. Of course, there are several Member States holding a referendum for the people of those Member States to make their own voices heard by way of voting for or against the adoption of the Constitution.